The U.S. Department of Justice is monitoring polling places in five Arizona counties. Photo by Ralph Freso | Getty Images
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it will be sending personnel to monitor the polls in five counties in Arizona and 23 other states as voter intimidation complaints reach double digits in the state.
The DOJ Civil Rights Division will monitor polling locations in Maricopa, Navajo, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai counties on Election Day to ensure compliance with the federal voting rights laws, the agency said.
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The DOJ will also be in contact with county and state election officials. The feds can oversee prosecutions of voter intimidation and voter suppression and members of the DOJ Civil Rights Division will be in Arizona to “receive complaints from the public related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws” by an online complaint form or via telephone.
Arizona is one of several states where armed groups have been seen watching drop boxes for non-existent voter fraud leading to an increase in cases being submitted to the DOJ of voter intimidation by the Secretary of State’s Office.
The increased attention to ballot drop boxes is being fueled by the debunked film “2000 Mules,” in which conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza alleged that supposed “ballot mules” were tracked by using cell phone geolocation data. The film alleges the people were paid to stuff ballot boxes with completed ballots, but provides no actual evidence such a thing happened.
The practice of submitting a ballot completed by another person, pejoratively referred to as “ballot harvesting,” is illegal in Arizona, though there are exceptions for delivering ballots of family members.
A temporary restraining order was issued last week barring anyone from the QAnon-linked group Clean Elections USA from training or encouraging others to intentionally come within 75 feet of a drop box or a building where a drop box is held. It also bars anyone associated with them from following voters from a drop box or verbally engaging with them as well as filming or posting photos of those dropping off ballots.
But the restraining order doesn’t stop anyone not associated with Clean Elections USA, which has now changed its name to Dropbox Initiative after a lawsuit by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
The DOJ has suggested that anyone with complaints related to disruption at a polling place should first report the disruption to their local election official including the officials at the polling place. Complaints regarding violence should be reported to the local police or by calling 911 and then to the DOJ afterwards.
The toll-free number for the DOJ voter hotline for the Civil Rights Division is 800-253-3931 and for complaints associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act, voters should call 800-514-0301 or 833-610-1264 (TTY) or submit a complaint to the ADA website.
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